The name dates from the Napoleonic Wars when troops of the Duke of Wellington’s army were quartered here.
‘The Armoury’ and ‘Magazine House’, both in Castle Street gained their current names for the same reason. In the garden of ‘Little Manor’ next to ‘The Armoury’ there is a large excavated area that is reputed to have been a bear pit.
This square was formerly called Bear Square and in the 18th century ‘The Armoury’ was the ‘Bear Inn’. However, the building was originally built in 1764 by the English Linen Company as a “manufactory” of cambric and lawns at Winchelsea. The buildings were erected for the weavers, who were superintended by a Frenchman named Mariteau. Over £20,000 was spent on buildings and 160 spinners, winders and weavers were employed together with 26 apprentices. It had 86 looms at work.